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The History of the Peloponnesian War

Page: 62

The same summer, at the beginning of a new lunar month, the only time by the way at which it appears possible, the sun was eclipsed after noon. After it had assumed the form of a crescent and some of the stars had come out, it returned to its natural shape.

During the same summer Nymphodorus, son of Pythes, an Abderite, whose sister Sitalces had married, was made their proxenus by the Athenians and sent for to Athens. They had hitherto considered him their enemy; but he had great influence with Sitalces, and they wished this prince to become their ally. Sitalces was the son of Teres and King of the Thracians. Teres, the father of Sitalces, was the first to establish the great kingdom of the Odrysians on a scale quite unknown to the rest of Thrace, a large portion of the Thracians being independent. This Teres is in no way related to Tereus who married Pandion's daughter Procne from Athens; nor indeed did they belong to the same part of Thrace. Tereus lived in Daulis, part of what is now called Phocis, but which at that time was inhabited by Thracians. It was in this land that the women perpetrated the outrage upon Itys; and many of the poets when they mention the nightingale call it the Daulian bird. Besides, Pandion in contracting an alliance for his daughter would consider the advantages of mutual assistance, and would naturally prefer a match at the above moderate distance to the journey of many days which separates Athens from the Odrysians. Again the names are different; and this Teres was king of the Odrysians, the first by the way who attained to any power. Sitalces, his son, was now sought as an ally by the Athenians, who desired his aid in the reduction of the Thracian towns and of Perdiccas. Coming to Athens, Nymphodorus concluded the alliance with Sitalces and made his son Sadocus an Athenian citizen, and promised to finish the war in Thrace by persuading Sitalces to send the Athenians a force of Thracian horse and targeteers. He also reconciled them with Perdiccas, and induced them to restore Therme to him; upon which Perdiccas at once joined the Athenians and Phormio in an expedition against the Chalcidians. Thus Sitalces, son of Teres, King of the Thracians, and Perdiccas, son of Alexander, King of the Macedonians, became allies of Athens.

Meanwhile the Athenians in the hundred vessels were still cruising round Peloponnese. After taking Sollium, a town belonging to Corinth, and presenting the city and territory to the Acarnanians of Palaira, they stormed Astacus, expelled its tyrant Evarchus, and gained the place for their confederacy. Next they sailed to the island of Cephallenia and brought it over without using force. Cephallenia lies off Acarnania and Leucas, and consists of four states, the Paleans, Cranians, Samaeans, and Pronaeans. Not long afterwards the fleet returned to Athens. Towards the autumn of this year the Athenians invaded the Megarid with their whole levy, resident aliens included, under the command of Pericles, son of Xanthippus. The Athenians in the hundred ships round Peloponnese on their journey home had just reached Aegina, and hearing that the citizens at home were in full force at Megara, now sailed over and joined them. This was without doubt the largest army of Athenians ever assembled, the state being still in the flower of her strength and yet unvisited by the plague. Full ten thousand heavy infantry were in the field, all Athenian citizens, besides the three thousand before Potidaea. Then the resident aliens who joined in the incursion were at least three thousand strong; besides which there was a multitude of light troops. They ravaged the greater part of the territory, and then retired. Other incursions into the Megarid were afterwards made by the Athenians annually during the war, sometimes only with cavalry, sometimes with all their forces. This went on until the capture of Nisaea. Atalanta also, the desert island off the Opuntian coast, was towards the end of this summer converted into a fortified post by the Athenians, in order to prevent privateers issuing from Opus and the rest of Locris and plundering Euboea. Such were the events of this summer after the return of the Peloponnesians from Attica.


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